Thursday, June 24, 2010

World Cup Fever

Happy Friday!! Happy weekend!! Do you have World Cup Fever? I am surprised how many people are paying attention to soccer…or football as everyone but Americans call it. Why did we change the name of it? Football makes sense to me. American football doesn’t involve a whole lot of kicking, so I really think it’s a misnomer. Anyway, my friends and I have been watching it and thought we would broaden our horizons by giving it a try.
Of course, nothing is easy with my bunch. It took forever to pick teams. Then we had to find a referee. We thought an impartial referee would be best, so we looked outside the feline species. Just as we started to consider who we could recruit, poor Bobbi came hopping into the yard to nosh on some peanuts. We all turned and looked at her, which really scared her. Even if the cats are friendly, it has to be unnerving for a squirel to be staring into so many cat eyes!! When she calmed down, Bobbi graciously agreed to moderate our competition. We were all set!

When we started playing, everyone was complaining that something didn’t seem right. We finally all agreed that it was too quiet! We tried recruiting Brittney from next door to cheer and make some noise, but it still wasn’t right. Then it hit me. Vuvuzelas! You know - those South African horns that are all the rage at soccer games. To get the real feel of a World Cup match we had to find some vuvuzelas to blow so we could hear that constant droning, buzzing noise. It sounds like a swarm of bees to me… a very BIG swarm of bees.
Since Corny had the Wal-mart connection, we sent him off to find us some vuvuzelas. While we waited for his return we drank lots of liquids to hydrate – it has been very hot here in NC!! Yesterday it was 101 degrees. Yikes that’s hot!!
It wasn’t long before Corny returned with several of his friends. They were each carrying a vuvuzela and a deflated soccer ball. Corny said that the last shipment of soccer balls Wal-Mart received had a few defective balls – they were missing their other halves! Since there weren’t that many of them, rather than send them back, they just threw them out. Corny took them out of the trash bin. He thought we could do something with them, and he was right. I had just the thing!

We made soccer hats for everyone! It reminded me of a hat I had bought a while ago, but hadn’t had the occasion to wear. I dashed upstairs and came back down looking absolutely fabulous!!!

How appropriate is that! Once everyone was hatted, we gave Brittney a vuvuzela to make some noise. Brittney blew and blew, but we all agreed she needed some help to make a bigger noise. Little Duke volunteered to leave the field and sit in the stands with Brittney and blow the vuvuzela also. That was better, but still not the same. Then Rocky grabbed a vuvuzela to join in on the noisemaking. As each player left the field and picked up a vuvuzela, the noise grew bigger and bigger as the teams grew smaller and smaller. Soon it was just me, Cali and Malcolm left on the field – and Malcolm is definitely not into athletics!

Everyone was having so much fun with the vuvuzelas that they weren’t interested in playing the game.
They were seeing who could blow the loudest and then who could blow the longest.

It didn’t take Cali and I long to figure out it’s not much of a soccer game with only two players. We succumbed to the allure of the vuvuzela, and joined the others in the bleachers. We all had a great time, though I did have a bit of a headache before it was all over. We decided to call it quits before someone complained about the noise.
Corny said we could each keep our vuvuzelas much to our families’ chagrin. He said Wal-Mart had bought so many of them they didn’t have enough room to put them all out on the sales floor. They were actually glad to get rid of some of them!
While we didn’t get much exercise, we did have fun. The USA plays this weekend, and you can be sure that I will be in front of the television in my soccer hat cheering them on and blowing my vuvuzela – loudly!! Who knows? Maybe the USA will win the whole shootin’ match! Do you think maybe then they’ll change the name from soccer to football over here?!?!?!?!
Have a great week!

Love & licks,

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Curling

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Whew! It has been really HOT here in North Carolina this past week. What better way to spend a hot day than hanging out in an ice rink. Mom and Dad had a curling match Sunday, so some of my friends and I thought it would be cool (hehehe, how punny!) to tag along. Who knows? Maybe I could become the first feline to make it to the Olympics!
The ride up to the ice rink was a little over an hour. Malcolm only made us stop once to get something to eat – the usual twin buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken. I think the only reason he came along was because he found out there was a snack bar at the rink. I had heard it wasn’t a good idea to eat a big meal before participating in physical activity. I tried to explain that to Malcolm, but as usual he didn’t want to hear it. He had most of one bucket gone before we arrived at the rink.
The rink was in a big complex with an ice cream store, a sports bar and grill and several shops. We were pretty impressed. Mom had to talk to one of the big wigs in the curling club to see if they minded if critters joined the group. They were very nice and welcomed us with open arms.
The first thing we had to do was get a crash course in the art of curling. It is an old game with many traditions. The team consists of four creatures. The creature who goes first is the lead, the creature who goes second is …..the second, the creature who goes third is the vice and the last creature to throw is the skip. Everyone has a unique responsibility. The leads of both teams meet for the coin toss. Rocky volunteered to be the lead. I think it was because he liked the shiny quarter and he wanted to bat it about after the toss was over.

Cali called cat tails as it was in the air. It was tails! The winner of the coin toss had to make the decision if their team wanted to pick the color stones they would throw, or if they would throw the last stone – the “hammer”. Cali picked the hammer, so the other team was allowed to pick which color stones they would throw. Since I was on his team and he is a gentleman, Rocky asked me what color I liked. I rushed over and grabbed a red stone. I wish someone had told me you don’t have to pick up the stone. They are heavy!!! Bobbi ran to my rescue so that I wouldn’t drop it on my foot.

The second, which was my position, was responsible for keeping score, the third acted as skip when the skip was throwing and the skip got to yell at everyone through the whole match. I guess that’s why all the good players were the skips. They were experienced and had earned the right to scream at the others.
Before the stone throwing began, we shook hands with the other team and told them “Good curling.” Then it was time for the fun to begin. I knew sliding a 40 lbs rock wouldn’t be easy, and my paws sliding on the ice wouldn’t make it any easier. I was pleasantly surprised that the ice wasn’t very slippery. Imagine that! After the zamboni does its thing, some curling club members go around with water tanks sprinkling drops of water all over the ice. It leaves little bumps on the ice that makes it less slippery.
The point of the game is to get as many rocks as close to the “button” as possible. Your fellow team members sweep in front of the rock to help melt the ice so the rock will go farther. Malcolm told me he was NOT sweeping anything for anyone anytime. Guess he has an aversion to housework.

Only one team gets to score, so you have to keep the other team’s rocks away at the same time you’re trying to get yours close. In the picture above, Cali and I are both red and closest to the button. Red would score two points. It’s very much a strategy game, so I should be a whiz at it! If only the rocks didn’t move around so fast…
The nice curling club people let us have our own sheet to play on. We started out very orderly and sedate and then our natural instincts kicked in and we were no longer curling but rather chasing and jumping on the rocks. We just couldn’t help it! Even Bobbi got into it and was having a blast riding around on a rock. It turned into a sort of bumper car/jousting thing – not pretty, but lots of fun. We would sit on the rocks and use the brooms to push ourselves along. Lucy wasn’t interested in riding the rocks. She just loved to run, then throw herself down and slide on her belly. She did it over and over and over again, mewing with glee every time she hit the ice!

We were busy having fun and didn’t notice the crowd gathering to watch us. When I happened to glance to the side I saw Mom and Dad and all their curling friends just standing, brooms in hand, watching in disbelief. Mom shook her head and started toward us. Oh no! Here comes a scolding!! She bent down and gave me a kiss on the nose and told me she was glad we were having so much fun, but we needed to tone it down a bit – others were trying to concentrate. Well, that wasn’t so bad. We could do that. For the rest of the time we quietly pushed each other around on the rocks, having races and trying to knock each other off.
We were disappointed when the group’s time on the ice was up. Mom told us we needed to help put all the stones away. Sure! If it involved pushing stones we were on it! We had fun helping to round up all the stones and push them to the side so they could be put in a storage bin. Bobbi really couldn’t push the stones very good and she was very tired, so Rocky said she could ride on his back. How nice – I told you he was a gentleman! Lucy was still throwing herself on the ice and sliding past us. She just couldn’t get enough!

Malcolm’s tummy wasn’t feeling well from all the eating and subsequent exertion. He thought maybe getting started on the second bucket of chicken might help. I told him he better not upchuck in my parents’ car or he would never be invited anywhere ever again. He mumbled something nasty and bit into a chicken leg.
We stopped at the sports bar for a drink and a nosh, much to Malcolm’s delight. We couldn’t stay long because we had a long drive home and some of my friends had to get home to their families. We said goodbye to our fellow curlers and headed to the car.
Everyone but Dad napped on the way home – Dad was driving, so that was a good thing. A trip goes very fast when you nap, so we were home in no time. Lucy and Rocky’s families picked them up at my house and Cali, Malcolm and Bobbi went their separate ways to wherever it is they live.
That night I had a dream… I was in the Olympics and making an important shot….

I woke up before the match was over so I don’t know if my team won. I think we did!
I could just picture myself up on the podium receiving the gleaming gold medal. I like shiny!
Well, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. It’s Father’s Day so I’ll have to do something special for my Dad. He takes such good care of me and lets me lick his face. He’s very special. Make sure and do something nice for your Dad!

Love & licks,


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Utopian Seafood Buffet

Happy Friday! Happy weekend! Hope you all had an enjoyable week. My friends and I had quite the little adventure in our quest for the Utopian Seafood Buffet. Twist my arm and maybe I’ll tell you about it!
…Okay! I know humans are big on “urban legends”, but did you know us felines have urban legends of our own? Like the one about the biggest ball of yarn in the world that can entangle a curious cat so strongly that the cat can never get out. I don’t like that one. I like the more fun, positive ones. Like the one about the most fabulous seafood buffet in the world. It’s an all you can eat buffet offering every kind of the freshest fish imaginable! Many cats have claimed to know someone who knows someone who has been to it, but no one has been able to produce any photographic proof of its existence…until now.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was in the Payless Shoe Store with Mom. They were having one of their big BOGO sales, so she said she just had to go stock up on some summer sandals. I hadn’t been there before, but I figured if they had shoes, surely they would have a lovely assortment of accessories - including hats. Seems I figured wrong - Payless does NOT have hats. Oh, well. I helped Mom shop for shoes – she trusts my judgment since I am such a fashionista. I couldn’t help but overhear two ladies talking about a place on the North Carolina coast that had every kind of fish you could imagine swimming around in large tanks. Wow, I thought, that must be the Utopian Seafood Buffet. Legend has it that you can pick your fish right out of the tank and either eat it right then, or give it to one of the master chefs to have it cooked to perfection. Oooh, I didn’t know which option I would take. My mouth started to water and I closed my eyes and imagined how great a fresh fish would taste. Suddenly, I realized the ladies had left without divulging where exactly this place was. At least I knew that it was located on the coast of NC.
I was now more determined than ever to try to find the Utopian Seafood Buffet. I didn’t want to go on my quest alone – who would believe me if I didn’t have witnesses…not to mention the fact I am unable to drive on my own. It wasn’t too hard to recruit some friends to come along. Convincing my brother to drive a couple of hours to the coast took a little more coaxing. I asked him very nicely, tilted my head just so and purred. It didn’t take long before he was eating out of my hand and agreed to be our chauffer to the coast.
We (Tank Fuzzbutt, Cali, Dot, Malcolm and I) decided to start out bright and early in the morning before any traffic could build up. My friends and I were so excited we were already in the car well before we were scheduled to leave. Tristan, evidently, was not as eager and we sat and waited and waited for him to get in the car and drive!

We had carefully placed our hats in the trunk so they would not get squished. Nothing is worse than a squished hat! We figured we would not be very comfortable wearing our hats while in such tight quarters in the car. It was probably a wise move though I hate going out into society without a hat! Tristan finally emerged from the house and started us on our way to new discoveries!
We had fun in the car singing along with the radio and looking for animals in the fields along the way. We headed in the general direction of the Carolina Coast figuring we could ask people for directions as we closed in on our destination. It took a couple of hours before we needed to start interrogating the locals. We stopped at several convenience stores before we found a person who knew of what we spoke. They kindly gave us the sacred directions to Utopia.
Malcolm was getting hungry so we had to drive through Kentucky Fried Chicken to buy a bucket of chicken. I scolded him and told him he would ruin his appetite if he ate a whole bucket, but he just mumbled something about being hungry again in a little while. I think he called me a not nice name!!
We had to stop several times before we found it. As soon as it rose up in the horizon I knew that it truly did exist – the Utopian Seafood Buffet!!!! It was beautiful!! We all started howling with delight –well, except for Tristan; he just covered his ears – and we leapt out of the car before it had come to a complete stop. We scurried up the stairs and made a bee line for the door.

There was no Maitre D to greet us when we entered – which was good. We didn’t know their policy on feline diners. It was tough to keep the group together as we were all pointing at something wonderful. We were whipped up into such a frenzy we had to stop and figure out where the buffet line started. We sat down and started to talk among ourselves when something behind me caught my eye. I turned to look and it was a tank just filled with tasty looking fish! I shrieked with glee and my friends all turned at once to look. Tank and Dot jumped up to get a better look and Dot took a few swats at some fish but didn’t catch any.

Since the drool was beginning to puddle on the floor, we decided we absolutely had to find the buffet line NOW. We were trying not to be noticed, so we really couldn’t ask people where we should be going to find the buffet.
As we walked around past all the beautiful fish tanks in search of a meal, Malcolm growled that he was glad he had eaten that chicken or he’d be famished by now. We all just rolled our eyes and forged onward.
We had heard that you were allowed to pick your own fish, but how could you do that when they were so far under the water? Then the answer appeared before us like an answer to our hungry prayers:

Aha! We had to put on scuba gear and go pick out our fish under the water. How ingenious! Combining adventure and sport with eating. What a great idea. No wonder no cat will admit this place exists. They want to keep it all for themselves!
Not everyone in our party was up for scuba diving. Tank and I volunteered to don the scuba gear and secure provisions for the whole group. Malcolm looked especially relieved. I don’t think he’s much into athletics.
It took a while, but we found some scuba gear in a closet behind one of the huge fish tanks. Tank and I grabbed some gear and jumped into the water.

What fun it was to swim under the water like that! I almost forgot about the fish. I finally remembered what I was supposed to be doing and got to work gathering dinner. It proved to be a daunting task. It was hard to get near any of the fish – they were much better at swimming than I was. Tank and I swam all around to no avail. We were unable to catch any fish. We were finally exhausted and decided to call it quits. I did not look forward to telling Malcolm there would be no fish for dinner.
As Tank and I climbed out of the tank, a couple of waiters came over to help us. They explained that we were not supposed to swim in the fish tanks – only the caretakers were supposed to do that. They told us that even though cats were not supposed to be roaming around, they were in such awe of our courage and swimming abilities that they would let us stay to eat dinner. Food at last!
They led us to a lovely dining room and showed us to a table. The waiters left us for a few minutes. When they returned they had trays full of food! You should have seen Malcolm’s eyes light up! There was a variety of fish – very fresh and very delicious. There was a plate with fish sticks piled high. That was Malcolm’s favorite.

We ate until we were about to burst! I think even Malcolm was full – didn’t think it was possible!
Tristan finally tracked us down. He figured if he found food, he’d find us. We had a long trip home ahead of us, so Tristan said we needed to get going. We stopped to thank the kind waiters who took such good care of us before we headed to the car. When we got outside we turned and took one last look at this wondrous place…now we know it DOES exist. Tristan pulled out his cell phone and snapped a picture, though I don’t think anyone would believe it anyway.
Poor Tristan had to listen to us burp and moan all the way home. It was a treat to not have to listen to Malcolm continually ask to stop to get something to eat. We agreed that we would not divulge the location of the Utopian Seafood Buffet to anyone – it would be our little secret. We were all exhausted when we finally pulled up into our driveway and we went to our respective homes immediately. My head barely hit the pillow and I was out, content in the knowledge that I had been where few cats had been before.
Have a wonderful weekend and week. Visit your favorite seafood restaurant and pig out. It may not be the Utopian Seafood Buffet, but any seafood is still good!

Love & licks,